Baltimore Contract Grants “Achievement Units” for Union Work

Here’s a provision of the proposed Baltimore Teachers Union contract that escaped my notice but caught the eye of the editors of the Washington Post. The tentative agreement – voted down by the BTU rank-and-file – proposes a system by which teachers would be paid not strictly according to years and college credits, but by “achievement units” accumulated.

A teacher would receive 12 AUs for the highest grade on an evaluation and 1 AU for each college credit. But work your way to page 9 of the tentative agreement and you find a teacher is to be awarded 3 AUs annually for being a union building representative.

District and union officials have made it plain that despite the defeat, they have no plans to substantially change the agreement. They will “concentrate instead on clearly explaining the terms of the innovative contract.” In layman’s terms, that means twisting enough arms to put the contract over the top.

I’ll be standing by to hear them explain the pedagogical benefits of being a shop steward.

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3 thoughts on “Baltimore Contract Grants “Achievement Units” for Union Work”

  1. This isn’t a perfect contract, but it’s a big step in the right direction. I’ve taught in city schools for years, and I’ll be voting for it.

    But let me get this straight: a teachers’ union and district administration find unprecedented compromise to propose a contract that’s good for both students and teachers, and all you have to say is you don’t like the Building Rep provision? If you’re drawing attention to interesting ed reform developments, and this is one, then tell the whole story. This post focuses on criticism; you’d prefer the status quo?

    The proposed contract allows teachers to control how they climb the pay scale. The work we’ve all been doing for free after school (mentoring, planning, professional development, etc.) can now help us earn a salary commensurate with workload. But more importantly, the work that would earn achievement units might help raise student achievement. No traditional step-and-lane contract even tries to improve student achievement. Baltimore teachers, let’s reach for something better and support the proposed contract.

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